Friday, October 31, 2014

Dead Girls (DVD Review) - Brain Damage Films

Directed By: Neal Fischer, Del Lowry
Written By: Various
Starring: Jessica Galang, Joseph Luis Caballero, Rebecca Mullins
Color/91 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: November 4, 2014

The Film
The anthology film has made a comeback in a big way in recent years. It remains a good way for filmmakers to collaborate on projects or for independents with little money to shoot individual short films and combine them into a feature length film. DEAD GIRLS is but the latest in the current wave of horror anthologies that have been hit or miss.

Pages read from the diaries of dead girls connects a trio of stories of girls getting their revenge. First a girl gets a demonic tattoo after finding her boyfriend cheating on her. A confrontation leads to hear accidental death and its cover up. She returns from the dead to exact revenge on her cheating lover and the girl he's having an affair with. The second story, my favorite of the bunch, features an innocent and sheltered girl who is the butt of a popular sororities joke during a pledge and dies. She returns from the grave looking smoking hot and goes on a rampage on the girls in the sorority house. Finally there's the story of a girl who is sexually abused and raped by just about every man in her life from her legal guardian to her priest. Nobody believes her until she prays for answers and finds them within herself.

DEAD GIRLS isn't a bad little indie horror picture but it has obviously limitations in budget. The middle chapter could easily have been expanded into a feature length film on its own and been a fun and successful slasher film. There's no surprises in any of the films as they all play it straight forward and to the point so you have to enjoy getting to the finish line in as standard a way as possible. That isn't a bad thing but it doesn't make for the most exciting viewing. There's not a ton to say otherwise, everything about DEAD GIRLS is decent but nothing more. It is worth checking out during your Halloween marathons.

The Audio & Video
Brain Damage Films gives DEAD GIRLS a home on DVD and the results are mixed as far as A/V goes. This film was obviously shot on a low budget and look varies from segment to segment. Brighter scenes show a pretty decent looking picture with instances of good detail level but darker scenes can suffer from blocking and crush quite badly at times. The audio is stable and clear with its 2.0 Dolby track. There's no background noise or distortions.

The Extras
-"Let's Make A Horror Movie!": The Making of DEAD GIRLS

The Bottom Line
If you don't expect the next great anthology horror film out of DEAD GIRLS I think there's enough there to enjoy to warrant giving it a watch.

DEAD GIRLS is available HERE

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Day 29

STANLEY is the story of an American Indian who uses his pet snakes to exact revenge on any he feels has wronged him or mistreated his snake friends. This is pretty standard drive-in horror fare but it worked and was an enjoyable flick.

It seems like I can't go more than three or four movies this year without a total disaster of a movie and the latest was LEPRECHAUN ORIGINS. Another WWE production with their resident Irish little guy Hornswoggle as the titular monster. This isn't anything like the Warwick Davis films where the leprechaun has a personality and cracks jokes, no, this leprechaun is an ancient monster that is more beast than horror villain and basically just eats people and I guess cares about their gold too. This movie is fucking awful. It's on the same level as Syfy channel productions but without the so bad its good aspect that some of those movies have. This is just bad. And boring. It's boring and bad and is among the worst movies I've seen this month.

Finally a long overdue viewing of RAWHEAD REX was due. I haven't seen this movie in somewhere close to 8 years. Based on a story by Clive Barker this purely cheese of the finest variety. An ancient demonic monster is resurrected and running amok on an Irish village. Some local clergymen worship him and try to help him while the beast tears apart everyone that crosses his path, man, woman, or child. RAWHEAD REX is one I have to visit more often.

Today's Rundown
Stanley - 6/10
Leprechaun Origins - 2/10
Rawhead Rex - 8/10

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Day 28

Getting back on track a bit on day 28 with three movies. The first of which is one that has been an anomaly of sorts since being made in 2007 and then pretty heavily promoted before being pulled from release and never getting any sort of theatrical run or home video release. Interest was recently revived as it had a short stay on VOD on a single cable provider but was again pulled. THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES is a faux documentary about a serial killer stalking and killing many victims across Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. He made detailed videos of his crimes, fetishsizing each one. He was brutal and unpredictable having never been caught and still on the loose. The film has some disturbing moments, many of which are with the killer's slave who was under his control for almost a decade. Unfortunately some of the acting from the law enforcement characters is beyond hammy and totally unrealistic while the writing is messy as well with a couple people in the documentary simply disappearing from the film with no conclusion or resolution to their part. It's a bit too shock value for shock value's sake but I think the idea and attempt at it was a noble one.

Afterwards I decided to go with something familiar and fun. THE LOST BOYS fit the bill perfectly and gave me exactly what I wanted. Some easy and entertaining while I was finishing some stuff on the computer. I don't think I need to go into depth with this one, it's a classic of the 80s with just enough camp, cool characters and a fantastic soundtrack. I've loved this movie ever since I saw it a friend's birthday party in 4th grade.

The day was wrapped up with a movie I've seen before but needed a refresher on - SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT. This drive-in era slasher type film is pretty decent, and better than it probably has any right to be. An axe-wielding maniac terrorizes a mansion that used to be a mental hospital during the Christmas season. It isn't the tightest film in the world, but it gets the story across and the acting isn't too shabby led by John Carradine and Mary Woronov.

Today's Rundown
The Poughkeepsie Tapes - 4.5/10
The Lost Boys - 8/10
Silent Night Bloody Night - 6/10

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Days 26 and 27

A couple days of light viewing should have me reset to finish the challenge strong. The lone movie for day 26 was AUDREY ROSE, a psychological horror drama that will be getting a full review of the limited edition Twilight Time Blu-ray tomorrow, so be on the look out for that. I'll say that it was a disappointment given the talent on board the production.

Day 27 also only had a single viewing and this one was enough to shut the whole challenge down. V/H/S VIRAL is the third entry in the V/H/S series of anthology found footage horror stories. I'm not a huge fan of the first two installments but each had segments that I liked and they weren't awful movies as a whole, though neither had a good wrap around story which certainly hurts the overall film. VIRAL is a complete piece of shit from start to finish, top to bottom. There's not a single fucking thing worth praising and not a single redeeming quality. I could have been easily surprised by something good. Or even remotely good. Instead a series of mediocre films takes a massive step down in quality and entertainment. Not only is V/H/S VIRAL terrible it is fucking boring and poorly thrown together.

Today's Rundown
Audrey Rose - 4/10
V/H/S Viral - 1/10

Plastic (DVD Review) - Arc Entertainment

Directed By: Julian Gilbey
Written By: Chris Howard, Sacha Bennett, Julian Gilbey, William Gilbey
Starring: Ed Speelers, Alfie Allen, Will Poulter
Color/102 Minutes/R
Region 1
Release Date: October 28, 2014

The Film
A group of college kids make money by hacking credit card accounts and flipping merchandise. Unfortunately they make a hit on the wrong person and get tangled up in a group lead by a merciless gangster who demands $2million in two weeks or he'll kill them. The group has to pool their knowledge and resources to come up with a high stakes but extremely high risk heist on some extremely rare and valuable diamonds that will take them across the Atlantic Ocean and back to London and hopefully they escape with their life.

PLASTIC is a damn good crime thriller. It has the perfect amount of comedy blended in with intense action, very cool heist and crime scenes and some sexy moments for the cherry on top. The cast is excellent and bring an equally excellent script to life with enthusiasm and fervor. The chemistry is great and each character has a specific role to fill within the film and they do so brilliantly. PLASTIC is quite a fun film and entertainment is the most important part. PLASTIC is incredibly entertaining from start to finish so grab a beer and a big bowl of popcorn and have some fun!

The Audio & Video
Arc Entertainment gives PLASTIC a nice looking DVD release with a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The picture has a nice sharpness and high quality look. The picture is clean and detail is rather good for DVD. The Dolby 5.1 track is crystal clear with no background noise or audible hiccups. The mix is excellent and dialogue comes across loud and clear.

The Extras
-Making of PLASTIC featurette

The Bottom Line
If you're in the mood for an action packed crime thriller with some really likable characters that is both clever and high quality you should check out PLASTIC. 

PLASTIC is available HERE

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wong Turn 6: Last Resort (Blu-ray Review) - Fox

Directed By: Valeri Milev
Written By: Frank H. Woodward
Starring: Anthony Ilott, Chris Jarvis, Aqueela Zoll
Color/91 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: October 21, 2014

The Film
I have to be honest with everyone- Despite not being much of a fan of the WRONG TURN series I'm pretty happy it has reached the sixth entry. I feel this way only because it's rare for horror series to reach such high number of entries and it makes me think of how fun it must have been to always have an entry from Halloween, Friday The 13th, Nightmare On Elm Street etc... coming out even if quality began to slip.

The WRONG TURN series is based around a series of inbred cannibal hillbillies from the hills of West Virginia and they terrorize anyone that unknowingly stops foot in their territory. The original film was a pretty decent backwoods terror type horror film and the second wasn't half bad either taking a bit cheesier turn but after that the series takes a pretty hard turn for the worst and by the time part 5 rolled around on the Syfy channel it was pure crap. Here in part 6, LAST RESORT, a man who is struggling to get his life back together goes to an old hotel with his girlfriend and friends to meet distant relatives who have summoned him to inform him that he has inherited the estate. Come to find out he's a member of the backwoods cannibals that have raised hell for five previous films and he has pure blood, just what they're looking for to have sex with his sister/cousin to keep the bloodline going. They drug him, get him on board to leave the world of Wall Street and become an incestuous backwoods hick and they murder all of his friends.

WRONG TURN 6: LAST RESORT is fucking terrible. There's no other way to say it. It sucks in every way. The makeup effects on the deformed cannibals was beyond shitty. Shitty enough that early on in the film I was convinced they had just put shitty rubber masks on the actors and pretended it was makeup. The acting is also pretty fucking terrible, especially from the cousins running the hotel. And perhaps worst of all it just is not interesting. I was grasping for a positive to the film and the only thing I (and my friend that watched it with me) was that all of the attractive women in the cast got naked, all 4 of them. That's it. Tits on screen were the only thing worth a Goddamn single fuck in this and in the day where tits are everywhere that isn't worth much.

It's possible that if you absolutely love the WRONG TURN series that you'll be attached to the characters enough to overlook everything that you're seeing and pretend to like it and try to convince yourself that the movie is good but for the rest of us that aren't wearing rose tinted glasses we'll have to deal with the shit that just got thrown at our face.

The Audio & Video
20th Century Fox gives WRONG TURN 6 a very nice looking release. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer with great detail level in skin tones and surfaces and vivid colors both in the country exteriors and old hotel interiors. Black levels are deep and handled very well. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio track has excellent clarity and a perfect mix of dialogue and score. There's no background noise or crackling or popping.

The Extras
-"Inheritance" featurette
-"All The Kills In Them Hills" featurette
-"Hobb Springs: A Place To Rest... In Peace" featurette

The Bottom Line
I can't recommend WRONG TURN 6 to anyone except absolute die hard fans of the franchise and even then I warn you to proceed with caution.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Day 25

THE VAMPIRE'S NIGHT ORGY feels typical of a 70s horror film where a group gets stranded in a creepy Eastern European town that happens to be inhabited by vampires. I'm sure you can guess what happens. There's nothing special or notable here. It feels typical and it feels like you've seen it before even if you haven't.

I found a pleasant surprise in THE DEVIL'S NIGHTMARE where a group of tourists get stranded in a creepy Eastern European town and have to take refuge in a castle. Sounds pretty familiar, huh? This movie features a Succubus stalking the group and offing them in various ways inspired by the seven deadly sins. There's some cool deaths and set pieces and a few gorgeous women that are all eye candy for the viewer and while the movie isn't particularly graphic it still manages to be gruesome.

These days zombies are the big thing. It's pretty annoying and most things dealing with zombies suck currently. THE BATTERY is a film about two baseball players, a pitcher and a catcher, surviving the zombie apocalypse together. Wisely, this film focuses on the characters and not zombies or gore. THE BATTERY has me a little torn as I thought the acting was superb and I really liked the catcher character. On the other hand I didn't care for the pitcher character and there's a few spots in the film where it seems like they hit a road block and didn't know how to progress the story. And to be a bit contradictory, this is a zombie film and a bit more action with them wouldn't have been a bad thing. The film would have still focused on the characters but it would have juiced things up a bit.

The day ended with some much needed Mario Bava - BLACK SUNDAY. I chose to watch this with the Tim Lucas commentary track and it ended u being a great listen. Lucas delivers some great facts on the cast and crew along with the production and history of the film. BLACK SUNDAY is one of Bava's finest film and it was great to revisit this way.

Today's Rundown
The Vampire's Night Orgy - 3/10
The Devil's Nightmare - 6/10
The Battery - 5.5/10
Black Sunday with commentary - 9/10

The Inside (2010)

When a man buys a video camera from a pawn shop he plays the tape inside and finds that it contains footage of a group partying in an abandoned building of sorts until they're interrupted and brutalized by a few men who murder or rape most of the group. A couple of the girls escape into a subterranean tunnel system and desperately try to find a way out while being stalked by the killers. Using the night vision function on the camera to see one of the girls escapes and runs towards the populated area of the city dropping the camera in the process. Instead of calling the police about what he's seen on the camera the man decides to trace the steps to the spot where the crimes were committed in hopes of uncovering some clues. While there he finds another girl who has been victimized and tries his best to help her escape.

THE INSIDE is 93 minutes of grueling torture. While watching it I glanced at the counter on the DVD player and found that I was 66 minutes into the movie. It honestly felt I was on hour three. The film is poorly made, with lots of dialogue being lost in the shuffle of the found footage style. A good bit of the dialogue that is present is just shouts of "no no no no noooo no no" so it isn't like we're missing out on any Shakespearean monologues here.

The story just plain sucks. It makes no sense that the girl who escaped would drop the camera that proves her crimes and clearly shows the face of the attackers and it makes even less sense that the man who bought the camera would go investigate it on his own after seeing just how fucked up the criminals are instead of bringing the tape to the police when the tape clearly shows the fucking face of the killers. The end of the film while stupid, was a welcome reprieve from having to watch anymore. I don't think I could handle any more shaky handheld night vision or anymore cries of "noo no no no no nooo no noo". You can go ahead and skip this one.

THE INSIDE is available HERE

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Day 24

I'll be giving the upcoming BD of PUMPKINHEAD 2 from Scream Factory the full review treatment so I won't go in to a ton of detail here but for a movie I remember nothing about and had low expectations for I was pleasantly surprised by a campy and entertaining sequel to the moody and atmospheric original .

Then came a film from Jess Franco that I had been interested in seeing for quite a while - MANSION OF THE LIVING DEAD. And surprise, surprise it fucking sucked like most Franco films do. I was hoping this would be one of the exceptions because Franco could make a great film but far too often he made shit. I wouldn't call MANSION total shit as it did have some aspects I liked such as the mean spirited sadism side plot, and plenty of naked beauties having lesbian sex when they find their plans to slut it up around the hotel have no chance because there's nobody there but overall it's a boring mess of a film with far too little of the living dead that the title implies.

THE BELIEVERS was next, another film that will get the full review treatment. The new Blu-ray from Twilight Time looks quite good but the film was a bit too drawn out and empty for me. The story let down a great cast and good direction.

The day was rounded out with a classic and an annual tradition for the challenge - HALLOWEEN 3. I think this is easily the second best Halloween film and it makes me happy to see it get more praise as each year passes. No Michael Myers? Big whoop. It has Conal Cochrane and ancient Samhain traditions and the mass murder of children via Halloween masks. This is such a fucking fantastic horror film.

Today's Rundown
Pumkinhead 2 - 7/10
Mansion of the Living Dead - 4/10
The Believers - 5/10
Halloween 3 - 8.5/10

Misfire (DVD Review) - Image/RLJ

Directed By: R. Ellis Frazier
Written By: Benjamin Budd, R. Ellis Frazier
Starring: Gary Daniels, Vannessa Vasquez, Michael Greco
Color/89 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: October 21, 2014

The Film
 A hardened DEA agent has to take on the Mexican drug cartel when his ex-wife is kidnapped and his brother is framed for it. He receives a bit of help through his connections but his biggest aid is in a reporter that worked with his wife who may end up being more than a friend when this fight is over if they both survive. Plenty of gun fights, fist fights and emotional fights await him on his journey.

MISFIRE is your standard direct-to-video action flick. It features Gary Daniels who had a small role in The Expendables and has been in countless B action movies giving a wooden performance in the lead role. The rest of the cast must work at the lumber yard as well because everybody is wooden as hell. There's no real emotion or effort put in to the acting. The direction doesn't spice things up as it is bland and not the least bit stylish and all of the shoot outs in the world couldn't make this movie any less exciting. It is really strange for a movie with this many action scenes to be such a bore. Everything about MISFIRE is standard in the worst way.

The Audio & Video
The DVD from RLJ/Image looks pretty nice. There's good clarity and detail while colors are vivid and natural. The 2.40:1 transfer is clean and free of any debris or damage. The Dolby 5.1 track is solid as well with a nice mix between the score and dialogue keeping things even and complimentary. The track is clear and stable with no background noise, or audible annoyances.

The Extras
Bare bones.

The Bottom Line
Would it be too easy to say that this one was a... misfire? It would be? Well shit. 

MISFIRE is available HERE

Friday, October 24, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Day 23

MR. SARDONICUS is a William Castle film I had never seen before but bought not too long ago on a double feature Blu-ray with Brotherhood Of Satan, a movie I'm not very fond of. I'm also not big on William Castle to be honest. I haven't found myself to be a fan of the majority of his films that I've seen and those that I didn't actively dislike I certainly wasn't crazy over. You may wonder why I bought that disc then, well to be honest it was under $3 before tax so I figured for that price I couldn't really lose. I get a film I've never seen before and a movie I'd be willing to give another chance. MR. SARDONICUS ended up being worth the price. This is a well acted gothic style film that is probably my favorite William Castle movie, contending only with The Tingler. It also has a fun gimmick thrown in involving the audience determining the fate of our antagonist. Castle was famous for gimmick marketing with his films and this one gave me a good chuckle.

The next three films of the day were all from Empire Pictures, Charles Band's company before Full Moon. First up was CATACOMBS, a religiously themed horror film set within the walls of a monastery that houses an evil beast that is pure evil and can spit black acid. That sounds pretty awesome and it certainly had the potential to be but once we move passed the opening scene where we are introduced to the evil there's long periods of talking and very little action of any sort. The set pieces are pretty damn great but the build up that the opening scenes sets up for is never lived up to and the climax is a particular let down. It isn't a bad film but it could have so much more.

Then came THE DUNGEONMASTER, aka Ragewar - a ridiculous sci-fi/fantasy/adventure film that sort of plays out like a video game. The main character is put to multiple battles in various worlds and settings trying to save his girlfriend. This thing gets ridiculous and it is one I want to watch again soon because I think that I'll really appreciate it more then second time. I liked it but wasn't overly impressed by it and I'm sort of surprised at my own feelings towards it as I write this review. I fully expect my 2nd viewing of this to make me realize that this is a giant shiny golden brick of cheesy bullshit and I'll love it.

Finally there was CELLAR DWELLER. This was my favorite of the three Empire Pictures movies. It revolves around a comic book character that Jeffrey Combs illustrated and perished at the hands of when it came to life. Several years later an artist in training moves into Combs's old room to bring the comic back to life but she brings the monster back with her and everything she draws becomes reality. Unfortunately for the rest of the students at the institute she likes to put the people she knows into her work. I don't need to say it but this thing was cheesy as hell and the monster had a great design. The only thing is that this movie was lacking that big punch to push it over the top into something great. As it is CELLAR DWELLER is still pretty damn entertaining and pretty well done.

Today's Rundown
Mr. Sardonicus - 6.5/10
Catacombs - 5/10
The Dungeonmaster - 5/10
Cellar Dweller - 6/10

Autumn Blood (DVD Review) - Arc Entertainment

Austria, USA/2013
Directed By: Markus Blunder
Written By: Stephen T. Barton, Markus Blunder
Starring: Sofia Lowe, Peter Stormare, Gustav Skarsgard
Color/100 Minutes/R
Region 1
Release Date: October 21, 2014

The Film
A few years after watching their father get murdered by the town's mayor, a 16 year old girl and her 10 year old brother mourn the loss of their mother in their mountain farm home. Afraid of being separated by protective services the girl tells nobody of their mother's death, hoping to continue to live in peace off the land and their farm. Those hopes come crashing down when a nasty group of hunters, including the mayor's son, rape the girl. Shortly after they return to kill off the children to keep being turned in but the girl tries to take a stand against them after a child welfare worker turns up for their protection too late.

AUTUMN BLOOD is a decent horror thriller in the vein of Straw Dogs. It features a strong performance from Sofia Lowe who shows that sometime the only person you can rely on is yourself. This film has very little dialogue, especially for a film that runs 100 minutes. It is gets awkward at times without anyone talking at all. I'd estimate that under 500 words are spoken from start to finish.

Even without much dialogue AUTUMN BLOOD could have been a stronger film with a tighter screenplay because the film does drag a bit with an abundance of running around in the woods. It is a sequence that simply goes on for too long. The supporting cast is solid as well but nobody really has a chance to shine with their limited lines. The film has a nice look to it and the direction is solid but it still suffers from a screenplay that should have been trimmed down a bit.

The Audio & Video
The DVD from Arc Entertainment has a good technical presentation with its 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are intentionally muted a bit but still look very good. Skin tones are fleshy and natural and overall picture quality is pretty sharp. The audio features a 5.1 Dolby track with a good mix job. The little dialogue is mixed well with the score. There is good clarity within the audio track without any background noise or distortions. 

The Extras
Bare bones.

The Bottom Line
AUTUMN BLOOD is worth a rental.

AUTUMN BLOOD is available HERE

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Day 22

TO ALL A GOODNIGHT was a movie I have wanted to see for a long time and long before I had any idea that the great David Hess directed it. Once I found that little bit of information it jumped up my list even higher. Hess was a fantastic creative mind both in front of the camera while acting in such films as Last House On The Left, Swamp Thing and House On The Edge Of The Park and while creating beautiful music. Hess died a few years back at the age of 75 from a heart attack but has left a great legacy behind. I was excited to dig in to a part of that legacy I had not experienced so with the brand new Blu-ray in hand I finally found out what TO ALL A GOODNIGHT was all about. Unfortunately it wasn't the slasher masterpiece I was hoping for. This 1980 film may be the first slasher film where the killer wears a Santa Claus costume as according to IMDB it was released months ahead of another great Christmas horror film, Christmas Evil. The film has a basic plot of revenge on some teens that caused the death of a family member a couple years earlier. There's nothing exceptional about this film but that doesn't hold it back from being entertaining and a fun bit of campy horror. If you don't go in hoping for anything more than a decent slasher film you won't be let down.

The only other film for day 22 was FRAILTY. I haven't seen this one in quite a while, maybe a year or so after it was released in theaters. I was afraid that after such a long period between viewings, and becoming quite more versed in film (and a lot more jaded) that the film wouldn't hold up. I found that this Bill Paxton and Matthew McConaughey vehicle works pretty well a dozen or so years later. The story is good enough to hold the movie together but the acting really makes the film work and succeed to the level it does. This is possibly one of the better horror films of the early 21st century.

Today's Rundown
To All A Goodnight - 6/10
Frailty - 7/10

Killer Mermaid (DVD Review) - Epic Pictures

Directed By: Milan Todorovic
Written By: Marko Backovic, Barry Keating
Starring: Kristina Klebe, Natalie Burn, Franco Nero
Color/96 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: September 9, 2014

The Film
A pair of American girls visit their old college friend and his fiancee on a Mediterranean island for a relaxing and exciting vacation. They meet a local man who promises to show them a good time and some unusual scenery and brings them to some secluded and off limits areas where the group encounters the lair of a lethal Siren and her keeper who kills people to feed her.

KILLER MERMAID is a surprisingly decent horror film, heavy with slasher elements and an even more interesting monster in the form of the beautiful mermaid. I haven't seen many killer mermaid movies in my day, or ya know, any, but this one makes it seem like a damn cool idea that can be carried out to successful results. The production of the film was rather good, with competent direction, good performances, a fair bit of juicy gore and CGI effects that aren't cringe worthy as you may expect in a straight to video horror film. Straight to video horror movies have a stigma of being cheap, generic or just plain bad but sometimes one that rises above the rest slips through the cracks and KILLER MERMAID may not be an amazing piece of art but it is a decent horror movie that was quite a bit of fun to watch.

The Audio & Video
Epic Pictures brings KILLER MERMAID to DVD with a pretty standard but effective A/V presentation. The 16x9 widescreen transfer has good detail and clarity with the interesting seaside settings looking very nice. The 5.1 audio track sounds fine with a solid mix and no audible hiccups or annoyances. 

The Extras
-Behind the scenes featurette
-"Making of The Mermaid" featurette
-Bonus crowd funding promo

The Bottom Line
It's a pleasant surprise when a movie comes out of nowhere and exceeds your expectations. KILLER MERMAID did that. Horror fans really should give this a chance.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Day 21

The first film of day 21 was technically a first time viewing. I've seen THE WOLF MAN plenty of times but never with audio commentary. The film itself is phenomenal, a beautifully filmed, perfectly acted classic horror film. The commentary track was full of great stories, facts and bios on the talent involved and I recommend any fan of the film give it a watch with the commentary track.

Next was DEAD GIRLS, an anthology film based around the diaries of well, dead girls. There are three stories and I'll be reviewing the film in full this week so just hang tight for the full review.

THE SCRIBBLER was next, not fully a horror film but it does have horror elements early on. It ends up being a superhero origin story thriller that ends up being a lot better than most indie superhero films have any right to be. Luckily for you the full review is already posted and you can check it out HERE.

Finally, I revisited HORROR EXPRESS starring Christopher Lee and Pete Cushing. It wouldn't be a proper horror marathon without at least one appearance of that dynamic duo. HORROR EXPRESS follows the terror on board a train as a prehistoric beast man is terrorizing passengers along with other evils. While this isn't a Hammer production it is often mistaken for one and is just as high quality as Hammer's output. I highly recommend you check this one out if you've never seen it.

Today's Rundown
The Wolf Man w/ commentary - 9/10
Dead Girls - 4.5/10
The Scribbler - 6/10
Horror Express - 8/10

The Scribbler (DVD Review) - XLRator Media

Directed By: John Suits
Written By: Dan Schaffer
Starring: Katie Cassidy, Garrett Dillahunt, Michelle Trachtenberg
Color/90 Minutes/R
Region 1
Release Date: October 21, 2014

The Film
A young woman named Suki (Katie Cassidy) is suffering from multiple personalities and is committed to a mental hospital where she's subjected to an experimental treatment called Siamese Burn, which is designed to erase all of her personalities except her main one. After the treatment she is sent to a sketchy halfway house so her recovery can be monitored but while she's there other patients begin dying off in droves. Suki has to uncover the mystery before she becomes the next victim.

Without any background knowledge THE SCRIBBLER sounds like it could go any number of ways but a superhero origin story isn't one I'd even consider. Dan Schaffer wrote this screenplay based off of his own graphic novels and it is a highly original and engaging direction he took. Director John Suits had a tough task of creating this world on a budget that I'm sure wasn't easy to work with. As we see comic book films with budgets upwards of half a billion dollars THE SCRIBBLER succeeds with interesting characters portrayed by a great cast who is more than capable and don't phone it in which is a problem that plagues many lower budget productions. Suits spices things up with a stylish look in the lighting scheme and
design of the film.

There's more than enough action to keep the viewer entertained but this isn't just about the fight scenes and special effects. THE SCRIBBLER is a more grown up superhero and I'm interested in finding out more about the character based on this film.

The Audio & Video
XLRator Media delivers THE SCRIBBLER on DVD with a 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks good. Darker scenes are handled competently without blocking issues, and the very deliberate color palette and stylish special effects come across looking good. The 5.1 Dolby audio track is crisp and clear with a good mix between soundtrack and dialogue. There's no audible hiccups, or distracting background noise to speak of.

The Extras
A trailer is the lone extra.

The Bottom Line
THE SCRIBBLER is a cool movie whether you know about the graphic novels or not. It works as an action thriller with horror elements along with the origins story it is. If you're looking for something different when it comes to superheroes and comic book movies you should give THE SCRIBBLER a look.